Dr Christina Dale – International Women’s Day 2023

Karen Okemiri, Faculty Manager interviews Dr Christina Dale
for International Women’s Day 2023 

KO: What does it feel like to be the first female President of the Faculty?

CD: I am also the first civilian to take on this role. Most of the time I feel a bit of an imposter! I was very keen to make some changes during my Presidency and was very conscious that I had to ensure that I brought people with me, I don’t always succeed in this but always tried. Although I am conscious of having a very different demographic and background, because I have been on the executive for many years I believe that people saw me as being someone who strongly believed in what we do. I have a very strong vision of what I want to achieve and I am fortunate that people want to support me. I firmly believe it is important for people to see women in leadership roles, I didn’t consider myself taking on this role but was encouraged to do so. I do think that the female trait can lead to us holding ourselves back at times which is why the more we see women in leadership roles, the more “normal” it will be and less of a thing!

KO: What do you wish to achieve for the Faculty?

CD: I want the Faculty to grow and also offer something more for its membership, beyond the course. For many years I had felt it was important that our alumni had a reason to continue their relationship with our Faculty. Our membership had been very stagnant for some years and I believed that we were missing an opportunity to provide our membership a way to connect and receive mentorship from some of our more experienced colleagues. If a healthcare worker is interested in Conflict & Catastrophe Medicine it can be hard to find someone who can help you to work out how to balance your NHS career with deployments. It’s also hard to find opportunities to work for organisations and getting that first “gig”. Many years ago when I was a junior doctor wanting to work in this field, there was a journal “International Health Exchange” which had articles, posted courses and jobs, that had long since gone and I really believed that we could create something similar online for our members. A platform where people could connect, get mentorship, post about courses, books and papers about the subject as well as a place to look up resources. This would help our members to continue their development and connect with members for advice wherever they were in the world. I also want to ensure that we had a bigger pool for future lecturers and executive in order to ensure the sustainability of the Faculty.

KO: What are the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of being a Leader?

CD: A real high is getting FCCMConnect up and running and seeing so many of our past students joining. This is the accumulation of what I wanted to achieve for the Faculty, a vibrant community of people with a similar interest. I suppose the ‘lows’ have been when some significant people have had to step back from being a part of our Faculty, it is the amazing people who make this work worth it and its always sad to say goodbye to people who have put so much into what we do.

KO: What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

CD: To think before you speak, but I am pretty sure that was in my school reports!!!! Also to not believe everyone will share your vision – being a leader is not about being popular but its about gaining trust from those around you.

KO: What next and how can people connect with you?

CD: I have NO idea! I still will be involved with the Faculty and I will definitely be on FCCMConnect for as long as it exists so it will be easy for people to connect with me.

Email: christinadale@doctors.org.uk or Twitter: @kiki_d3